Lobby for Law in India, Greenpeace asks Hewlett-Packard

Press release - August 19, 2008
BANGALORE, India — Hewlett-Packard (HP) employees at the company’s corporate office here were greeted by a message “Lobby for Law,” painted on the bodies of Greenpeace activists today morning. The message was directed at HP, asking the brand to shed its reluctance and start publicly lobbying for e-waste legislation in India.

Greenpeace activists at HP Headquarters in Bangalore demand the company to lobby for e-waste legislation in India.

Greenpeace insists that the brand has to have a nation wide operational takeback service for all consumers, not just for its business consumers, to reflect its commitment to lobby for legislation based on Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) (1).

"Why does it take HP so much time to start a pan-India takeback service for all its customers, given that it had now had two years' of experiment and learning?" asked Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace toxics campaigner? Is it because the company does not want e-waste legislation embracing IPR in India?"

HP is the leading computer hardware brand in Indian market with a 21 % market share (2). The brand also leads in the Notebook market with a 37 % market share. However, the company's responsibility towards the environment has not grown with its growing market share- at least not to date in India. A recent Greenpeace study (3) found that the brand's efforts on making available a takeack service for end-of-the-life products in India are grossly inadequate.

HP's takeback service in India covers only its corporate, big institutional customers, leaving a vast number of individual users without the service. As per the 'takeback blues' study, even its corporate customer takeback service is not working properly. HP in India says that the brand will start a takeback service for individual customers, but only after it learns from the ongoing recycling process and system experiments, going on for past two years. What the company does not explain is why HP is not able to formulate a robust takeback service for all its customers even as the company offers takeback service for all its customers in Europe, US and other developed nations.

The brand (globally) supports the principle IPR, and even actively lobbies in Europe and the US for IPR legislation, but not so in India. The position of the brand on support and lobby for legislation in India is not clear as the company has so far shied away from making any commitment publicly.

"It is imperative that HP, being the market leader in the computer segment in India leads the pack by calling for legislation and by lobbying within the electronics sector and the government to make e-waste legislation in India a reality," said Abhishek Pratap.  "The brand must, without further delay, start voluntary, free takeback service for all its customers"

Takeback services which attribute the costs of recycling to each individual producer will encourage producers to phase out the use of toxic substances in their products at the design stage, thus allowing for safer recycling and reduced end of life costs for the companies. Greenpeace is demanding that all electronics producers take full responsibility for their own-branded e-waste on a global level, by ensuring that it is properly recycled or disposed of.

For further information, please visit designouttoxics.org

For further information, contact

Ramapati Kumar, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner +91 98455 35414
Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner +91 98456 10749
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications +91 93438 62212

Notes to Editor

1. Individual Producer Responsibility is a refinement of the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility, which is a policy tool to make producers individually responsible for the entire lifecycle of products - production, usage and finally disposal. EPR works best when it makes full use of both the ingredients of the precautionary principle such as designing-out- toxics and the polluter pay principle such as internalization of full end-of- life costs. EPR also means adopting the same operating standards regardless of location.

2. IDC report “India Quarterly PC Tracker, 4Q 2007, February 2008 release”

3. Greenpeace Indian release report “TakeBack Blues – An assessment of e-waste takeback by brands in India” on August 4, 2008 in New Delhi. The full report can be downloaded from www.designouttoxics.org